5 Days of War

Examining the Georgian and Russian conflict of 2008, 5 Days of War presents a personal spin on events.  Although mostly succeeding it provides a somewhat simplistic account of a complex war.  Given it was directed by a film-maker mainly known for action films this shouldn’t come as any surprise.  Despite this there are some moments effectively questioning how such deeds could still happen in a supposedly more enlightened era.


Known for venturing into war-torn countries, reporter Thomas Anders (Rupert Friend) and cameraman Sebastian Ganz (Richard Coyle) are no strangers to witnessing deadly conflict.   Even their experience cannot prepare them for what they see in the Georgian province.  In dispute with Russia over land, the area becomes a war-zone from which there is little escape.  Tasked with gathering the facts, they see first-hand the scars of battle and the apathy of other countries unwilling to help.


The most interesting aspect of this otherwise superficial movie is how media savvy those engaged in war seem.  With the search for a memory disc containing damaging pictures the fulcrum of its plot, 5 Days of War reveals how empty the motives are of some of those in charge.  Mixed with reporters who constantly put their lives on the line in search of a story – and the subsequent refusal of TV networks to correctly report it – these elements provide ongoing engagement in a rather glossy version of what actually occurred.


Given it goes to great lengths to claim it is ‘based on actual events’, 5 Days of War is very one-sided.  Funded by the Georgian government, it can hardly be called an objective account with Renny Harlin’s direction seemingly more interested in action sequences than the more interesting politicking.  This is clearly seen in the characterisation with each side painted strictly in black and white strokes.  If one can ignore that there are some potent moments although proceedings are shown in a Reader’s Digest manner than anything substantial.


Although not giving the whole truth of the situation 5 Days of War at least provides a starting point for those wanting to learn more.  Any movie doing this is worth something, even if its execution lacks much depth.


Rating out of 10:  5

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